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What is the HAF programme?
In November last year, the government announced that the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme would be expanded across the whole of England in 2021. The programme has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children since 2018.
The programme will cover Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays in 2021. The programme will be available to children in every local authority in England.
The Department of Education has granted Devon County Council £1.69 million to coordinate free holiday provision over the next 12 months, including healthy food and enriching activities.
School holidays can be particularly difficult for some families because of increased costs (such as food) and reduced incomes. For some children that can lead to a holiday experience gap, with children from disadvantaged families:
- less likely to access organised out-of-school activities
- more likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health
- more likely to experience social isolation
Free holiday clubs are a response to this issue and evidence suggests that they can have a positive impact on children and young people and that they work best when they:
- provide consistent and easily accessible enrichment activities
- cover more than just breakfast or lunch
- involve children (and parents) in food preparation
Local authorities have been asked to ensure that the offer of free holiday club provision is available for all children eligible for and in receipt of Free School Meals (FSMs) in their area. This does not mean they are all required to attend as the provision is voluntary.
Devon County Council recognise and greatly value the important role that schools, community and voluntary organisations can play in delivering this programme and are keen to work with a wide range of partners to maximise resources and opportunities in the development of a county-wide HAF programme. This will be with both existing activity schemes/holiday clubs and may include developing new provision where there are gaps.
Aim of HAF programme
Having secured funding from the Department for Education to arrange a programme of school holiday-time activities for 2021, Devon County Council is working with local providers to coordinate a programme of free activities and healthy meals for the school holidays for children and young people.
The aim of the scheme is to support children to eat more healthily, be more active over the school holidays and have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition as well as be more engaged with school and other local services.
The children who take part will enjoy fun and enriching activities in a safe and sociable environment and have the opportunity to develop new skills or knowledge and try out new experiences. This could include physical activities such as football, table tennis or cricket; creative activities, for example, putting on a play, junk modelling or drumming workshops or other experiences like a nature walk or visiting a farm.
At least one meal per day will be included and the children will improve their knowledge and awareness of healthy eating.
The scheme aims to help families develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting.
Who is this programme for?
To see if your child is eligible, please refer to the information for parents page.
Providers can learn more about what activities are eligible for funding and who can get involved on the information for providers page.